In 2010, in his parents’ garage, the 16-year-old Palmer Luckey developed a virtual reality headset which was later bought by Facebook for USD 3 billion. It launched a technological race where all of the world’s largest technology companies (Facebook, Microsoft, Sony, etc.) are trying to get a piece of this new market.
VR headsets can be divided into two categories: tethered (connected with a wire) and standalone devices. The wired headsets are plugged into a computer, which allows displaying compelling 3D graphics in the headset. In the standalone headsets, the headgear and other equipment have been built into one unit, and there is no need for a separate smartphone or computer.
Each device has its own advantages and disadvantages – for example, it’s easier to bring standalone devices to an event and set them up there, but they do not have the computing power to display more complex graphics. There are also different remote controls or the ability to move around in the room. The following list gives an overview of the most well-known VR headsets.
A headset that can be plugged into a computer and is equipped with a remote control allowing you to move around in a large room virtually. This headsets provides higher frame rate and wider field of view than competitors. HTC Vive and Valve Index use the same technology, so their remote controls and base stations can be combined. Price: Approximately 1000 € (available since 2019).
Oculus Rift S
A headset to be plugged into a computer and equipped with a remote control that allows you to move around in a narrow area virtually. It is ergonomic and can be set up rather fast, mainly for games and 3D graphics applications. Oculus Rift S is an advanced version of a “regular Rift” that is no longer sold. Price: Approximately 400 €, requires a powerful computer.
HTC Vive / HTC Vive Pro
A headset that can be plugged into a computer and is equipped with a remote control allowing you to move around in a large room virtually. The primary uses are games and 3D graphics applications. Price: Approximately 600 €, requires a powerful computer. A more powerful Vive Pro version is available since 2018 for around 1400 € (also requires a powerful computer).
Oculus Quest 2 (advanced version of Oculus Quest)
A standalone mobile headset that is equipped with remote control allowing you to move around in a room virtually. Mainly for games and 3D graphics applications, but not so powerful as headsets that are plugged into computers. Quest 2 can be connected to the computer and used as PC headset. Main advantage of Oculus Quest 2 is mobility and lack of wires, also wide range of games. Price: about 350 €, available since Oct 2020.
HP Reverb G2 (Microsoft)
A headset that can be plugged into a computer (developed in cooperation with Valve and Microsoft). It is equipped with remote control allowing you to move around in a large room virtually. No external sensors needed. Price: apprximately 500 €, requires powerful computer.
A VR headset to be plugged into the PlayStation 4 game console. Not as powerful as the headsets plugged into the computer, just for gaming and PlayStation applications. Price: Approximately 300-400 €, requires a PlayStation 4 gaming console. Works also with PlayStation 5, but probably there will be advanced version for this game console.
Oculus Go (not sold after launch of Quest 2)
A standalone mobile headset that does not require a phone or a computer. Ideal for watching 360-degree videos, plus a remote control included. The price is about 300 €, sold since 2018.
Vive Cosmos Series
HTC PC headset series that can be plugged into a computer. Includes versions with base stations and inside-out tracking. The primary uses are games and 3D graphics applicaions. Price rance: approximately 600 – 1000 €.
Nintendo Labo VR Kit
Nintendo Switch is mainly suitable for kids. Main focus is construction of the VR cardboard and shord demos. The technology of the Nintendo Switch is not enough powerful for VR applications and thefore not meant for longer use. Price: approximately 90 €, 350 € Nintendo Switch console required.
In addition to the aforementioned, there are still many cheaper VR headset devices that can cause unpleasant experiences and feelings (e.g. seasickness), therefore we recommend the equipment in the list above.